All This Time
CD single Upside Records Ltd/Sony
An interesting artist, Maria Mena and maybe one of Norway’s best. Her father was a drummer and her mother a playwright. Her first album ‘White Turns Blue’ established her in Europe but a later set ‘Apparently Unaffected’ included an international hit in ‘Just Hold Me’. Still only 23 and a keen writer of her own material, Mena is putting out Ash Howes Radio and Original Radio Mixes of ‘All This Time’ in the UK. Will the dark-haired beauty make an impact here ?
This a co-write with Martin Sjolie and starts with a semi-whispered vocal over staccato piano before acoustic guitar and what sounds almost like a mellotron in the back mix. Lyrically Maria is looking inwards and pitches between autobiography and confessional shot though with optimism. This material will always find its way into female teenage hearts, as Amy Studt and Michelle Branch have proved in the past.
I like the avoidance of the overworked electropop beat that seems to accompany every female vocal single you ever hear at the moment ; this has a more whimsical charm and could almost be from a musical. For this listener, pleasant but not a knockout. I’m sure Mena goes deeper on her forthcoming album ‘Cause & Effect’
Pete Sargeant www.fairhearing.co.uk